Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tilting @ Windmills

We had the pleasure of Nancy & Paul Gipe's company this week, and attended Chatham Rotary's annual banquet to hear Paul describe a sane wind and solar energy policy for Ontario and North America. A couple of weeks ago Rick & I drove through Port Alma on the shore of Lake Erie to view the Wind Farm started this summer.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Butterfly Magnet

The parks 30 minutes to the south of Chatham - Rondeau, Wheatley and Point Pelee - are famous for their butterfly displays. This butterfly-bush (Buddleia davidii) between The Duchess main house and carriage house has lived up to it's reputation. For more information of the nature preserves of SW Ontario, visit the links listed at

1964-1/2 Mustang

Hi! That's me and The Duchess with the latest Mustang being raffled by The Rotary Club of Chatham. Rick had just driven it back from the Comber Fair in time to be pimped for the Zurich Bean Festival. Would you like to get behind the wheel? Tickets are avalable at their site:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Capitol

Ta-dah. The provincial infrastructure renewal fund came through for our Capitol Theatre with enough to finish the job. The next 18 months should be exciting for Chatham-Kent as the stage, orchestra pit, and seating areas become reality. Congratulations to The Theatre Association, Bob Fox, Dan Donaldson and their staff. Visit their web site to see the work in progress; call 519-358-7079 to arrange a tour.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Country Visitor

A turkey-sized Ring-Necked Pheasant walked into our back garden on Wednesday, and we would have had a great picture if Rick had charged his camera batteries. Instead Eleanor Breynaert in the next block spotted him and called The Chatham Daily News. The attached photo of our bird was shot by the Daily News' Sarah Fraleigh. As an infrequent city visitor, we're unlikely to see him in the neighbourhood again. Great Blue Herons are another matter - they will be appearing as the ice clears from goldfish ponds.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Birds

We've been picking the odd banger off our lawn this winter-not bangers as in "bangers and mash" but noise bangers-small shotgun cartridges. Our civic workers have been chasing crows out of town and down the valley into the countryside, where farmers tell us they try to chase them back. For the last few weeks we have been crow-free, which is a good thing because they filled the trees round The Duchess over Xmas. I expected Tippi Hendron to bang on our door at any moment, and Hitch to walk by.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Duchess gets a Prize

The day before Valentine's Day we got a nice present, winning a Mayor's Heritage Award for the restoration work we did on the Duchess of Wellington. Kind of amazing, considering previous winners and the competition this year. Also accepting were: Shannon Prince and the Buxton Historic Society for restoring the last log structure in the Buxton Setlement, the Congregation of Ste Pierre sur la Thames church, Jon Ford for the Ford-McKinley Funeral Home, Dave Benson for his McCollam-Wade 1855 Greek Revival home, and our friend Brian Chute for his Park Street United House of Worship. All the nominees would have been worthy winners. The presentation dinner was at the Ridgetown Campus of the University of Guelph. An extra surprise during the evening was a Citizenship Award from the IODE Captain Garnet Bracken Chapter which was presented to Rick and I for our preservation work.

Joe Storey's Pines Chapel

Earlier this month Rick was part of a focus group to determine new uses for the Pines Chapel. This mid-century modernistic chapel was designed by the late Joe Storey for the Urseline Sisters. With their former mother house being converted to condos the chapel is in possible danger. Joe's architect daughter Kim Storey took part.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Capitol

Rick took in the Chatham-Kent council meeting on Monday, deeply interested in the future of the Capitol Theatre. Our 1936 gem has been under restoration as a legitimate theatre centre, but has hit a half-finished brick (pun) wall. Provincial Infrastructure funding being awarded in March will hopefully put the project over the top this year. See our web site for information on the theatre and (hoping) scheduled performances and packages down the road.

No Bananas

Being in Canada's Deep South, and known as The Banana Belt, this winter in Chatham has been a shocker. Temperatures not bad, but snow, snow, and more snow. The Duchess does have a Wonderland aspect though, and as long as we're shovelled who's complaining?